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SWANN'S WAY: The School Busing Case and the Supreme Court by Bernard Schwartz

SWANN'S WAY: The School Busing Case and the Supreme Court


Pub Date: March 1st, 1986
Publisher: Oxford Univ. Press

A crisp, accessible piece of modern legal history. When the Supreme Court approved busing to achieve racial balance in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system, it gave notice that more than 15 years of procrastination in establishing opportunities for racial equality was at an end (though years of controversy in the communities where Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education was to be enforced had just begun). The decision was a victory not only for Southern blacks but for the veterans of the Warren Court who triumphed over newly appointed Chief Justice Warren Burger. Burger flouted court traditions by writing the opinion himself, only to have his drafts substantially revised and virtually reversed by his fellow Justices. Working from such drafts, and from interviews, the author of Super Chief and The Unpublished Opinions of the Warren Court has reconstructed the intense yet highly civilized battle that resulted in the Swann opinion, and the personalities who took part in it. The story of how, in successively analysed versions, the Swann opinion ultimately came to affirm Federal District Court Judge McMillan's busing order will interest history buffs, court-watchers, and anyone who enjoys behind-the-scenes political wheeling and dealing at the highest and most subtle levels. It's also an impressive story of the commitment of the Court to make good on the promise of Brown v. Board of Education, and to do so unanimously.